Travel: I-40 in Snow

Our friends Lisa and Weston have been planning a big move across the U.S. and Nathan and I 'helped' them get there. They got rid of all that couldn't fit in two cars and I'm thankful to have documented such an incredible new start for them. I photographed this trip a bit different than usual. Rather than staging things, obsessing over editing, lighting and photoshop, I left the photos as close to what they were like in real life as possible. Nathan challenged me with 'taking more bad photos.' Keeping the imperfect ones and letting them communicate what life was like for us in the past two weeks. I also kept a travel journal, writing down details and happy moments. Each blog post will have photos from various days and the journal entry that went along with them.

We didn't plan for the snow storm that predicted 6-inches in Asheville on Thursday morning so we decided to quickly gather our things and leave Wednesday night. It was snowing when we left and N was nervous about driving right into the storm. Weston and Lisa got to our house just after 7 p.m., we kissed Thimble goodbye, gathered our few things (we packed very lightly), and got into Weston's car. They gave us cookies to eat, the car was warm, the snow fell slowly. We drove in front, I turned on All The Bright Lights music. We talked about snow, work, music, and our hopes for the trip. The snow picked up on the stretch between Asheville and Tennessee. It took us four hours to get only two hours out of Asheville. We stopped for gas, had a snowball fight in the gas station parking lot, and went on our way. The snow covered the roads. We saw at least five accidents within an hour so we decided against making it to Nashville that night. We checked into a hotel, ate tortilla chips, and made jokes about how little we drove.

The next morning, Weston made us yummy pourovers and hoped to make it to Oklahoma City by night. We stopped in Nashville for lunch at Marche's and met with an old friend, then we went to Trader Joe's to get road trip snacks. One of our goals for the trip was to eat really healthy so we would have energy. Lisa thought it was funny that N and I ate bell peppers as a snack : ). We danced to Violents music, made fun of all of the guys driving big trucks and celebrated as we drove out of Nashville because Lisa had never been further West. Lisa and I had great conversations about life, marriage, and dreams in life. When we got to Arkansas, we saw hundreds and hundreds of birds flying in a row for miles. It was amazing. Then we saw the most beautiful sunset I've ever seen. Deep reds that hurt your eyes it was so striking. Weston ran over a traffic cone and it got stuck under the car. When we stopped to get it out, a huge chunk was shaved off. We kept it as a souvenir. When we drove past Carrie Underwood's childhood home, we turned on Aint in Checotah Anymore and danced in the car. N was embarrassed that I knew every word to the song : ) We stopped about thirty minutes outside of Oklahoma City because I was dozing off.

The next day, our goal was to make it from Oklahoma City to Albuquerque, New Mexico (about 8 hours away). We wanted to drive quickly until this point so we had extra time in Arizona, California, and Oregon. Oklahoma City was covered in snow (which we were quite tired of by this point). N and I were arguing because I thought he should drive faster. We saw many wrecks during this stretch. We made it to Albuquerque, woke up early and shoveled our cars out of the snow. N peed on the side of the road because we couldn't find a bathroom. We stopped on Route 66 to get gas and it was so neat. It felt like we stepped back in time with all of the low, 1960's-looking buildings. There was no snow and the air felt warm. I think that's what we were most excited about. The landscape looked like desert plains for hours until we hit Flagstaff and mountains suddenly appeared. Within an hour, it went from feeling like Southern California to feeling and looking like Colorado. We stopped at Safeway for lunch. I was excited because Safeway is the grocery store we grew up shopping at and N had never been to one before. (I get excited when he sees pieces of my childhood). We ate in the car and made our way to the Grand Canyon.